February 15, 1864
During the Civil War, 217 was the headquarters of the L'Overture Hospital. It was named after Tousaint L'Overture — Hispaniola's (Haiti) slave revolt leader. Patients were African American Union Soldiers & "contrabands" (escaped slaves). #217 was surrounded by 12 or more buildings and tents for patients, including: surgeon's dispensary, cook house, linen room, heating plant, sutler's, schoolhouse, and a "dead house." The hospital stretched from the corner of Prince and Payne westward, Troop barracks were across the street. #217 is the only surviving hospital building.
Civil War confiscation of property occurred on January 11,1864 when William Fowle, a large land owner, failed to pay the real estate taxes in person. He feared imprisonment for supporting the Confederate cause.
Private John Cooley, a soldier of the 27th U.S. Colored Infantry (Ohio) was the first black soldier to die in Alexandria, "? died upon entering L'Overture Hospital on May 4, 1864."
On May 17, 1864, Dr, William C. Minor, Surgeon Captain, began working a L'Overture Hospital. Later he murdered an individual in England's seedy side. On April 6th 1872, Dr. Minor was found not guilty of murder being a "certified lunatic." He was, however, held in permanent custody. While in custody Dr. Minor became a core creator of the Oxford English Dictionary — submitting over 10,000 definitions. (NY Times bestseller, The Professor and the Madman
On Dec 27, 1864, Surgeon Bentley received a petition signed by 443 L'Overture patients requesting "?the same privileges and rights of burial in every way with our fellow soldiers who differ only in color?" Consequently soldiers where interred in the Alexandria National Cemetery (previously interred in the Freedman's Cemetery).
Nurse Julia Wilbur, who took supplies to Alexandria's Hospital, was instrumental in changing the hospital's conditions after meeting with Surgeon Bentley in L'Overture Hospital.
Former Slaves founded Shiloh Baptist Church
in the Hospital's mess hall.
On September 27, 1894, Samuel Reed, builder of #217, was "?found dead at an early hour this morning in a coal yard near the north end of the Long Bridge?close to his fish wharf?two bullet wounds?right cheektomach?no pistol was found?it is supposed he committed suicide." (Alexandria Gazette
Owners of the land include: King Charles II of England (1669), The Fairfax Family, The Alexander Family, Francis Peyton, John Dundas, James Hallowell, William Fowle and Samuel Reed.
This unusual 2 bay Greek Revival style was a twin with #219.Circa 1850